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OCT. 18, 1921 

"/ feel sure that if just what 
occurred, with all the sentiment and 
feeling that went with it, could be 
conveyed to the people of Great 
Britain all over the world and the 
people of America, it would go far 
toward uniting them in a common 
sympathy and in a common purpose. 11 

October 17, 1921 








OCTOBER 17, 1921 

Reprinted from the London Times of October 18, 1921 


as described by the London Times in its issue of October 18, 1921 

Yesterday morning General Persh- 
ing laid the Congressional Medal of 
Honour on the grave of the Unknown 
British Warrior in Westminster Abbey. 
The simple and beautiful ceremony 
seemed full of the promise of new and 
happier times. And what we call 
Nature appeared to have laid her 
approval on the hopes that it aroused. 

That the United States should con- 
fer on an unknown British Warrior the 
highest military honour that can be 
bestowed by its Government that 
jealously guarded and rarely granted 
Medal of Honour, which can only be 
won "at the risk of life, above and 
beyond the call of duty"; that Con- 
gress should pass a special Act en- 
abling this honour to be paid to one 
who was not a citizen of the United 
States; that by the request and in 
the presence of the American Am- 
bassador the medal should be laid 
upon the tomb by the hand of the 
great soldier who is now the successor 
of Washington, Grant, Sherman, and 
Sheridan as General of the Armies of 

the United States, and that the cere- 
mony should take place while the 
eyes of all the world are turned to the 
coming Congress at Washington 

Here is great matter for pride and 
hope; and it seemed to be by some- 
thing more than mere accident or the 
working of unalterable law that, just 
at the beginning of the ceremony, the 
sun should stream down, in its nat- 
ural gold, through a window not yet 
painted, upon the Union Jack that 
was spread at the foot of the Unknown 
Warrior's grave. 

The ancient mystery of the great 
Abbey is never wholly dispelled by 
the light of day. Yesterday, as ever, 
she preserved her immemorial secrets 
and her ever brooding silence; yet 
brightness, colour, confidence were 
the notes of the ceremony; and, con- 
trasting the sunshine of yesterday 
with the tragic gloom remembered on 
other occasions since August, 1914, 
one could not but believe that the 
externals matched the inner truth of 


the act, and that the modern history 
which, as the Dean of Westminster 
reminded us, began with the war in 
which the Unknown Warrior gave his 
life was about , through him and his like , 
to bring joy and peace to the world. 
With the Union Jack at its foot and 
the wreaths bestowed about its edge, 
the stone that temporarily covers the 
Unknown Warrior's grave near the 
west end of the Abbey was bare, save 
for a little case full of rosaries and 
sacred emblems that lies at its head. 
The space about it was shut off from 
the rest of the Nave by a barrier, 
through which passed only those who 
had been specially invited to seats of 
honour round the grave. 

The Nave was packed with people 
facing north and south, and lined with 
soldiers and sailors of the United 
States Army and Navy, among them 
some of General Pershing's picked 
battalion, strapping fellows in khaki 
or blue, who seemed to have all the 
smartness and the immobility to 
which we are accustomed in British 
troops on such occasions. 

At ii o'clock the band of H. M. 
Scots Guards, stationed at the south- 
east end of the Nave, began to play 
under the direction of Lieutenant F. 
W. Wood, a selection of classical and 
modern music; and the congregation, 

while listening, took note of the emin- 
ent persons as they arrived. Mr. Win- 
ston Churchill came early and walked 
down the Nave . Earl Haig slipped in 
almost unnoticed by a door in the 
South Aisle. Colonel Sir Henry Streat- 
field, representing Queen Alexandra, 
took his place on one of two chairs 
that were set under the westernmost 
pillar on the south side. Then came 
the Duke of Connaught, representing 
the King, and he was ushered by Mr. 
E. F. Knapp-Fisher, chapter clerk, 
to the other chair, close to the grave. 
The choir and the clergy, in their 
scarlet cassocks under white surplices, 
assembled about the grave; the Dean, 
Archdeacon Charles, Canons Barnes, 
Storr, and de Candole, the Rev. H. F. 
Westlake, custodian, and the Rev. 
Jocelyn Perkins, sacrist, the Precentor 
and the Organist of Westminster 
Abbey. Thence they went up the 
Nave to the north door, to await the 
arrival of General Pershing. 

Very soon after half -past n those 
near the grave could hear from the 
far end of the Abbey the voices of the 
choir singing the processional hymn, 
"The Supreme Sacrifice," of which 
the author is Mr /John S. Arkwright. 
As the procession passed through the 
barrier to the graveside, behind the 
Dean came the American Ambassador, 


General Pershing, Admirals Niblack 
and Twining, and Major Oscar N. 
Solbert , Military Attache of the Amer- 
ican Embassy; then Mr. Lloyd George 
(attended by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir 
E. W. M. Grigg), Lord Lee of Fare- 
ham, First Lord of the Admiralty, 

Sir L. Worthington-Evans, Secretary 
of State for War, and Captain F. E. 
Guest, Secretary of State for Air. 
Rising from his seat, the Duke of 
Connaught shook hands with the dis- 
tinguished Americans; and then the 
ceremony proper began. 


Backed by a row of A bbey dignitaries were the Dean of West- 
minster, the American Ambassador, and General Pershing, 
standing at the gravehead, and facing up the great church. At 
the invitation of the Dean, the American Ambassador then spoke 
as follows: 

By an Act of the Congress of the 
United States, approved on March 4 
of the present year, the President was 
authorized "to bestow, with appro- 
priate ceremonies, military and civil, 
a Medal of Honour upon the unknown 
unidentified British soldier buried in 
Westmister Abbey." The purpose of 
Congress was declared by the Act it- 
self, in these words: 

"Animated by the same spirit of 
comradeship in which we of the 
American forces fought alongside of 
our Allies, we desire to add whatever 
we can to the imperishable glory won 
by the deeds of our Allies and com- 
memorated in part by this tribute to 
their unknown dead." 

The Congressional Medal, as it is 
commonly termed because it is the 
only medal presented "in the name of 
Congress," symbolizes the highest 
military honour that can be bestowed 
by the Government of the United 
States. It corresponds to the Vic- 
toria Cross and can be awarded only 
to an American warrior who achieves 
distinction "at the risk of life, above 
and beyond the call of duty." 

A special Act of Congress was re- 
quired to permit the placing of it 
upon the tomb of a British soldier. 
The significance of this presentation, 
therefore, is twofold. It comprises, 
in addition to. the highest military 
tribute, a message of fraternity direct 


from the American people, through 
their chosen representatives in Con- 
gress, to the people of the British 

There were two soldiers. One was 
British. The other was American. 
They fought under different flags, 
but upon the same vast battlefield. 
Their incentives and ideals were identi- 
cal. They were patriot warriors 
sworn to the defence and preservation 
of the countries which they loved 
beyond their own lives. Each realized 
that the downfall of his own free land 
would presage the destruction of all 
liberty. Both were conscious of the 
blessings that had flowed from the 
English Magna Charta and the Ameri- 
can Constitution. 

Well they knew that the oblitera- 
tion of either would involve the 
extinguishment of the other. So with 
consciences as clear as their eyes and 
with hearts as clean as their hands 
they could stand and did stand 
shoulder to shoulder hi common 
battle for their common race and 
common cause. There was nothing 
singular, nothing peculiar, about 
them. They typified millions so like 
to themselves as to constitute a 
mighty host of undistinguishable fight- 
ing men of hardy stock. A tribute to 
either is a tribute to all. 

Though different in rank, these two 
soldiers were as one in patriotism, 
in fidelity, in honour, and in courage. 
They were comrades in the roar of 
battle. They are comrades in the 
peace of this sacred place. One, the 
soldier of the Empire, made the su- 
preme sacrifice, and, to the glory of the 
country whose faith he kept, he lies 
at rest in this hallowed ground en- 
shrined in grateful memory. The 
other, equally noble and equally 
beloved, is by my side. Both live and 
will ever live in the hearts of their 

What more fitting than that this 
soldier of the great Republic should 
place this rare and precious token of 
appreciation and affection of a hun- 
dred millions of kinsmen upon the 
tomb of his comrade, the soldier of 
the mighty Empire! 

Proudly and reverently, by author- 
ity of the Congress and the President, 
I call upon the General of the Armies 
of the United States, fifth only in 
line as the successor of Washington, 
Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, to 
bestow the Medal of Honour upon 
this typical British soldier who, 
though, alas! in common with thous- 
ands of others, "unknown and uni- 
dentified," shall never be "unwept, 
unhonoured, and unsung." 



Then General Per shin g said: 

One cannot enter here and not feel 
an overpowering emotion in recalling 
the important events in the history of 
Great Britain that have shaped the 
progress of the nations. Distinguished 
men and women are here enshrined 
who, through the centuries, have un- 
selfishly given their services and their 
lives to make that record glorious. 
As they pass in memory before us 
there is none whose deeds are more 
worthy, and none whose devotion in- 
spires our admiration more, than this 
Unknown Warrior. 

He will always remain the symbol 
of the tremendous sacrifice by his 
people in the world's greatest con- 
flict. It was he who, without hesita- 
tion, bared his breast against tyranny 
and injustice. It was he who suffered 
in the dark days of misfortune and 
disaster, but always with admirable 
loyalty and fortitude. 

Gathering new strength from the 
very force of his determination, he 
felt the flush of success without un- 
seemly arrogance. In the moment 
of his victory, alas! we saw him fall 

in making the supreme gift to human- 
ity. His was ever the courage of 
right, the confidence of justice. Man- 
kind will continue to share his tri- 
umph, and with the passing years 
will come to strew fresh laurels over 
his grave. 

As we solemnly gather about this 
sepulchre, the hearts of the American 
people join in this tribute to their 
English-speaking kinsman. Let us 
profit by the occasion, and under its 
inspiration pledge anew our trust in 
the God of our fathers, that He may 
guide and direct our faltering foot- 
steps into paths of permanent peace. 

Let us resolve together, in friend- 
ship and in confidence, to maintain 
toward all peoples that Christian 
spirit that underlies the character of 
both nations. 

And now, in this holy sanctuary, in 
the name of the President and the 
people of the United States, I place 
upon his tomb. the Medal of Honour 
conferred upon him by special Act of 


the American Congress, in commemo- 
ration of the sacrifices of our British 
comrade and his fellow-countrymen, 
and as a slight token of our gratitude 
and affection toward this people. 

On the conclusion of his speech the 
Congressional Medal of Honour was 

handed by Admiral Niblack to Gen- 
eral Pershing, who, stooping down, 
laid it on the grave, above the breast 
of the unknown hero beneath. Shin- 
ing there, with its long ribbon of 
watered blue silk, it lay, a symbol 
of the past, a pledge for the future. 
And General Pershing stood at the 
salute to his fallen comrade. 


The Dean of Westminster then returned thanks in the follow- 
ing words: 

It is with feelings of profound and 
respectful gratitude that we of this 
ancient Abbey of Westminster receive 
the noble tribute of your great 
country's sympathy with the suffer- 
ings endured and the sacrifices made 
by Great Britain and her Dominions 
Overseas. We thank you for the 
gracious act which you have done 
and for the eloquent words with 
which you have accompanied it. 

The Congressional Medal of Hon- 
our which General Pershing, whose 
presence with his men is to us an 
inspiration, has laid upon the grave 
of the Unknown Warrior is an added 
pledge of the brotherhood of our 
people in the days of peace, as in the 

days of war. God willing, provision 
shall be made for the safe keeping of 
,this medal in a spot where historic 
treasures are preserved, and where all 
people are free to come and gaze. 

Saxon and Norman, Plantagenet 
and Tudor, are lying there at the 
east end of this building and are 
visited by thousands of your country- 
men from year to year. 

The history of those centuries is our 
common heritage; but a new era has 
opened. Modern history began with 
1914, and the grave of the Unknown 
Warrior is now the object of pilgrim- 
age for all English-speaking peoples. 
It is a symbol of our proud thanks- 
giving for historic sacrifice made by 

men and by women, sacrifice which, 
thank God, was shared with Great 
Britain and France by your noble 

people in a great and terrible conflict, 
which was waged for the liberty of 
nations and for the freedom of mankind . 


And then, at the Dean's request, Mr. Lloyd George came to the 
gravehead and spoke as follows: 

It is my especial privilege on 
behalf of the Government and of the 
people of this country to express 
their profound gratitude to the Presi- 
dent and to the Congress of the United 
States of America for this striking act 
of homage to our valiant dead. 

The action of the President and of 
Congress has deeply stirred British 
hearts. We know the value of this 
famous medal. We know how jealous- 
ly its worth has been guarded. We 
know it represents, not merely in 
purpose but in fact, the highest 
distinction which the great Republic 
can confer on valour amongst its 
sons, and we also know that for two 
generations it has been consecrated 
by its association with deeds of con- 
spicuous heroism amongst a con- 
spicuously brave people. 

We thank the American people for 
conferring this, the highest tribute 
of honour in their command, upon 

the poor remains of a humble and 
obscure British warrior who gave 
his life for a noble cause. We thank 
them for conferring this Medal of 
Honour through the hands of the 
distinguished soldier who played such 
a notable part in the final triumph. 
We thank the Ambassador of the 
United States for his eloquent words. 

This Empire , to its remotest corners 
will not miss the deep significance of 
this deed and of this day. We feel 
we are taking part in no idle pageant. 
The warrior who rests in this sacred 
tomb is but a representative of nearly 
1,000,000 British dead, from many 
continents, who gave their young lives 
freely not only for the honour of 
their native lands but for human free- 
dom in all lands. 

The cause -for which they fell 
America espoused in a critical hour 

and helped to carry to victory, so that 
the homage laid to-day on this grave 
will remain as an emblem of a common 
sacrifice, for a common purpose. 


It will be a reminder, not only to 
this generation but for all generations 

to come, that the fundamental aims 
of these two democracies are the 
same, and it will be interpreted as a 
solemn pledge given to the valiant 
dead that these two mighty peoples 
who were comrades in the Great War 
have resolved to remain comrades to 
guarantee a great peace. 

When the speeches were over, the 
Precentor offered prayers, during 
which all the congregation stood: the 
Lord's Prayer, and three special 
Collects one for eternal peace upon' 
all our brothers who fell hi the war, 
one "that the two great peoples of 
America and Great Britain may ever 
go forward charged with the high 
privilege of their stewardship for the 
liberties of mankind," and the third a 
thanksgiving for all who have fought 
the good fight. 

Of the Collects the first two were 
written by the Dean of Westminster 
the first adapted from one that he 
composed for a previous ceremony, 
the second specially written for this 
occasion. Then the choir and many 

of the congregation broke into the 
famous "Battle Hymn of the Repub- 
lic," during which the Duke of Con- 
naught and General Pershing were 
seen to be sharing an Order of 

, Service. 


After the hymn the Dean, still 
standing at the gravehead, spoke 
the Blessing; then, from far away in 
the east end of the Abbey, rang out 
the "Last Post," which is now so 
intimately linked in our memories with 
honours paid to dead soldiers; and, 
finally, to the same familiar tune, 
English and Americans alike sang 
two verses the first verse of "God 
Save the King," arid the first verse 
of "My Country, 'tis of thee" the 
British National Anthem and the 
American National Anthem. 



The Message of the Double Line of Khaki 
From the London Times, October 18, IQ2I 

In Westminster Abbey, yesterday, 
General Pershing laid the American 
Medal of Honour upon the grave of 
the Unknown Soldier of Britain. 
The bright sunlight streamed through 
the high stained-glass windows in 
long shafts of light that fell warm 
upon the grey stone of the Gothic 
arches, upon the quiet people in the 
Nave, and around the flower-strewn 
tomb, and that lay in a cloth of 
scarlet on the flag above the body of 
the Unknown Dead. 

A thousand years of great history 
stood silent within those old walls. 
Close by are the tombs of Norman, 
Plantagenet, Tudor, and Stuart Kings 
and Queens, of the priests, and 
soldiers and the sailors, of the poets 
and statesmen that have made Eng- 
land great. 

As the organ filled the sunlit 
spaces of the ancient church with its 
deep volume of sound, there marched 
up the aisle, with bared heads, a 
detachment of British soldiers from 
the Guard's regiments. As they 

formed a line facing the centre, an 
equal number of American soldiers, 
bare-headed, marched up the other 
side, and turning, stood facing the 
British soldiers across the narrow 



Both lines of khaki, both lines of 
straight and young and clear-eyed 
boys, both lines of men of Anglo- 
Saxon blood, of the same standards 
and of the same ideals they stood 
there in the sunlight in that shrine of 
a thousand years of memory, looking 
straight into each other's eyes. 

Between them, up the aisle, marched 
the choir in their scarlet vestments 
with their bright cross on high, the 
generals, the admirals, and the Min- 
isters of the Empire, and the Am- 
bassador and the Commanding Gen- 
eral of the Great Republic but in all 
that they represented, and in all that 
was said in the ceremonies that 
followed, there was no such potent 
symbol as those two lines of khaki- 
clad boys, with the sun shining on 


their bared heads, their brave young 
faces, and their strong young bodies, 
looking each other straight in the face. 
Between them lay, not the narrow 
aisle, but a thousand leagues of sea, 
the building of a new world, the 
birth of a new destiny for man. But 
as they stood there where they 
could have touched hands in the 
old Abbey which was a shrine for 
their common ancestors, they were 
so amazingly alike in bearing and 
appearance that they ceased to be a 
detachment of soldiers from two 
different countries, and they became 
a symbol of the illimitable potentiality 
of a common heritage that heritage 

of which the ancient Abbey was a 
shrine the heritage of the ideals of 
freedom, of order, of self-discipline, 
of self-respect. 

If any words spoken in the Abbey 
could have conveyed a hundredth 
part of what that double line of clear- 
eyed boys said in utter silence the 
world would have been a happier 
place to-day. The old strength and 
the new force of a common heritage 
stood in khaki in the aisle of West- 
minster Abbey bare-headed, to hon- 
our the symbol of supreme sacrifice 
to those ideals in the Cross of Christ 
and in the body of an Unknown 



Awarded to America's Unknown Warrior 

General Pershing was the guest of the Government at a banquet 
at the Carlton Hotel. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, M.P., 
Secretary of State for War, presided over a distinguished gather- 
ing, and in the course of his speech announced that the King 
had conferred on the Unknown Warrior of the United States the 
highest decoration known to the British Empire the decoration 
of the Victoria Cross. 

In announcing the decoration the chairman said: 

I propose this toast upon an occa- 
sion unique in the annals of British 
history, for to-day the people of the 
United States, represented by General 
Pershing, have bestowed the highest 
Order it is in their power to bestow 
not upon a King or a Prince but 
upon one whose name is known to no 
one but the Almighty. Solemn and 
unique though this occasion is, we 
can rightly say that here, indeed, 
"there is nothing for tears." 

We celebrate to-day as a day of 
triumph and fame; for our Unknown 
Warrior is more famous than even 
the greatest of those whose names 
ring out in the temple of British 
chivalry. I recall the words of 

"The whole world is the sepulchre 
of famous men; not only are they 
commemorated in their own country 
by monuments and inscriptions, but 
in foreign lands there dwells an un- 
written memorial of them graven, 
not upon stone, but upon the hearts 
of men." 

Truly the hearts of the American 
nation must have gone out to our 
Unknown Warrior when they were 
prompted to tender at the hands of 
General Pershing that unprecedented 
honour which their Congress has 
consecrated with the form and solemn- 
ity of a great act of State. 

The gift of America to-day marks 
her intimate - association with the 
ideal which the Unknown Warrior 


symbolizes. He lies, a Briton in a 
British grave, wrapped about with 
the soil of France and honoured by 
the homage of America, to be rever- 
enced and remembered as the embodi- 
ment of duty nobly done. He has 
done his duty, we have to complete 
his task. 

A great step forward has been 
taken by the summoning of the 
Washington Conference. May the 
same spirit of mutual accommodation 
and fraternal affection as that with 
which we stood together in the Great 
War animate the representatives of 
our nations to carry out the high 
resolve that our dead shall not have 
died in vain. 

This great act of American friend- 
ship which you, General Pershing, 

have performed to-day, will find a 
response in thousands of British 
women's hearts, each one of whom 
claims our Unknown Warrior as her 
own. Every mother whose son was 
missing will look with gratitude and 
affection towards the people of Amer- 


As a further mark of gratitude and 
affection, and as a tribute from the 
people of the British Empire to the 
people of America, I have it in com- 
mand from the King to read to you a 
telegram which he has to-day ad- 
dressed to the President of the United 
States. [The Secretary for War here 
read the message from the King.] 



I wish to express to you and to the 
Congress and people of the United 
States the warm appreciation felt 
throughout this country of the tribute 
which you are paying to-day to our 
Unknown Warrior. The gift of your 
Medal of Honour to a British comrade 
in arms, whose tomb in Westminster 
Abbey stands for all our best endeav- 
our and hardest sacrifice in the war, is 
a gesture of friendly sympathy and 
good will which we will not forget. 

On Armistice Day the representa- 
tives of the British Empire in Wash- 
ington will join with you in a cere- 
mony held to honour the splendid 
record of your own troops. I greatly 
wish on that occasion to confer on 
your Unknown Warrior our highest 
decoration for valour, the Victoria 
Cross. It has never yet been be- 
stowed upon a subject of another 

State, but I trust that you and the 
American people will accept the gift 
in order that the British Empire may 
thus most fitly pay its tribute to a 
tomb which symbolizes every deed of 
conspicuous valour performed by men 
of your great fighting forces, whether 
by sea or land, upon the Western 

I also send my heartfelt good 
wishes to the great International 
Conference which opens by your wise 
initiative upon that day. My Min- 
isters will, I know, strive as whole- 
heartedly as yours to make that Con- 
ference a sterling success. May they, 
in common with yours, do all that 
practical statesmanship can achieve 
to perpetuate the comradeship of war 
in the maintenance of peace. 



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